How to maintain without tracking: Step 1
Thursday, October 11, 2012
Yes I know it's dangerous territory, but I know I can do it. I maintained my weight well before without tracking, maybe occasionally I would track to reign in a couple of extra pounds but that's it. I put some the weight on after I got hit off my push bike, I struggled with exercise for a while mainly because of depression, but I got out of that horrible place in my mind while I was pregnant so obviously I had to gain a bit more weight. Other than that my weight has always been pretty stable, mostly because I love being fit and active. I am now proudly sitting at 127.6lbs, which is within my weight tolerance from when I was a teen. Ok so it's on the higher end of that weight tolerance but I feel really happy here, I have good muscle definition I feel quite lean. I wouldn't mind if I lost a few more pounds but I don't want to play the numbers game.
So I am taking my first steps in quitting tracking and step 1 is to set up a goal to track on my 'Other Goals' page Avoid Sweet Treats 5 x per week. With the safety net of tracking to reign my calories in I tend to have a 100 cal sweet most days, if I do that when I'm not tracking my portions/number of servings will most likely increase so gradually I won't notice it until my clothes don't fit or the scales reads 'TOO HEAVY' instead of some nice small(ish) numbers. So Step 1 for maintaining without tracking will commence the morning after the half marathon. By the way when I say treat I mean a 100 cals chocolate bar or similar, not an entire day off tracking or anything like that! I do have the occasional day off tracking right now but that's something entirely different and allows for things like days out etc...
There are plenty of other rules I want to implement as I begin to let go of tracking, but I want to add them in gradually and make sure I can be somewhat flexible about them. Anyway this is, strictly speaking, number 2. I already track any food that I eat on a daily basis, in a category called Allowances. I have begun adding my breakfast into the allowances too because I want to know how to manipulate the foods that vary from day to day and I tend to eat the same breakfast every day. It would be easier to eat 1000 cals for lunch, dinner and snacks than to keep adding up the cals for every meal every day. As you can see I will still have a rough idea of what I eat when I eventually quit tracking, but I will be weaning myself off tracking.
Here are the foods that are currently in my Allowances:
Veg/fruit (5 servings @ roughly 40 cals each)
Greek Yoghurt, 100 grams
Milk - Semi skimmed 550 ml
Cocoa powder1 tbsp
Oats, 40 grams
Leerdammer light cheese - 1 pre-sliced serving (only 55cals and 20% RDA Calcium)
I don't worry to much if I have a higher cal fruit/veg occasionally because I often eat things lower too, like cucumber which is only 12cals for a huge chunk. It usually averages out to roughly 40cals a serving and if it does go over that it's not disasteous because there's no more than 100 ish calories over on a bad day and as we know we need to eat 3500 extra cals to gain a lb. I may end up adding more calories in as I get further into maintenance but I'm always open to tweaking things as I go along. Breakfast is the Greek yoghurt with fruit and the porridge made with cocoa and some of the milk. I try to use up my milk allowance most days, I'm very aware of my calcium intake with osteoporosis in my family.
So all I'm left to think about each day is lunch, dinner and snacks. Snacks can often be made out of my allowances anyway so overall it's fairly easy to keep within my current calorie goals, especially if I begin to limit the days I can eat a treat on. I am eating roughly 1800 cals per day right now and seem to be doing ok on that. It sounds like a huge amount but I am genuinely hungry so I must need it. This week, as I said in my last blog may not be a great weigh in, but it's not for the 1800 cals a day, more because of the off days that have occurred because of illness etc... Weigh-in tomorrow, I will let you know in my status if it's and up or a down. Wish me luck...